Course reviews

  • Ancestral Course Feedback:

    "Thank you for a wonderful few days of deep, rich, heart-inspiring and -breaking stories. It was a time never-to-be-forgotten and a privilege to share it with the other participants." 

    Clare Gibbon CAPE TOWN
  • Memoir Feedback:

    "I learnt a lot and still plan on writing my memoirs. I loved the feedback and the whole group was very unique."

    Allison Smith CAPE TOWN
  • Memoir Course feedback:

    "It allowed me to write freely without the mind and the Critic interfering.  I feel empowered and realise that I can write.  Sharing was good for me.  The group experience made me feel less alone. 

    Dawn is an inspiration.  Her ideas are phenomenal, the extracts chosen were both thought provoking and  moving.  The creative exercises were very helpful in accessing our own particular memories."

    Hildegarde le Roux CAPE TOWN
  • Memoir Course feedback:

    "The writing of my story helped tremendously. It ordered my thoughts and feelings and gave scope for mourning and missing. While  highlighting how lovely it is to have cats around the house! "

    Helen CAPE TOWN
  • How We Respond to Art course feedback:

    "A useful and thought-provoking experience of re-learning how to “read” - it brought up certain assumptions and pre-dispositions, which would not necessarily have surfaced in the well-worn process of “reading” words. "

    John Cartwright CAPE TOWN
  • How We Respond to Art course feedback:

    "This class provides an invaluable pathway into the understanding of contemporary art. Very few people have any kind of art education these days, and the artworks at the Norval are particularly challenging for the ordinary viewer (in my opinion). So I found this class amazingly helpful and a great learning tool, both for the art itself and about my own responses to the different pieces.

    Dawn Garisch, leading the class, exhorted us to choose a specific artwork, look carefully at it, and then contemplate it. Immersing myself in the ambiance of each piece greatly enhanced my understanding of the more abstract forms in the sculpture garden.

    Writing about one’s response to art that elicits a strong negative reaction opens up a different perspective on the work. 

    I cannot recommend this class too highly. It should be required for all new members to attend."

    Margaret-Anne Halse CAPE TOWN
  • How We Respond to Art course feedback:

    "What a stimulating and enlivening course!
    We wrote our responses to a work of art we were drawn to and one we disliked - I learnt so much about how my current state of being reflects in what I'm attracted to and it was revealing to face my prejudices and biases in what I turn away from.
    Everything begins with emotion and brought up the question for me: are we drawn to art that reflects and matches what is already inside us or what is dormant and needs awakening? Perhaps a bit of both.
    It was a special impromptu treat to be joined by the Norval's Senior Advising Curator Karel Nel who listened with such interest to our writing pieces and gave such astute feedback on each one."
    Nina Geraghty CAPE TOWN
  • Memoir Course feedback:

    "Dawn is a facilitator who is deeply committed to the process she presents. Her knowledge of memoir writing is impressive and the many extracts she presents are read with grace and consideration.

    She invites participants to engage in exploratory exercises that have certainly allowed me access to the undertow of my work, the true source of creativity.

    I would highly recommended this process.  You will not come out with a book, but you are bound to know yourself better and gain the confidence to write with gusto moving forward."

    Samantha Smirin CAPE TOWN
  • My Life As A Work of Fiction feedback:

    "The course opened my eyes to the writing ability of the other writers thus encouraging myself. 

    It lived up to my expectations."


    Guy Dormehl CAPE TOWN
  • My Life As A Work of Fiction feedback:

    "A safe and non-threatening environment to feel brave, write, share the writing, to listen and be heard. The course encouraged me to keep writing and exploring.

    I enjoyed listening to the stories of the other writers and to be heard."

    Fleur Hanekom CAPE TOWN
  • My Life As A Work of Fiction feedback:

    "It felt like therapy! It was a safe space to express my thoughts and receive constructive criticism. The course has motivated me to continue on the writing road.

    I also enjoyed the group dynamic and felt that I could be authentic in sharing my voice. Dawn has incredible advice and insight that offers comfort and growth."

    Mischa Solorei Knysna, CAPE TOWN
  • Memoir Course feedback:

    "The course allowed me to connect the dots of my life journey  towards writing a meaningful story that I had not been paying attention to.

    I enjoyed how the facilitator handled the space ensuring everyone was at ease."

    Andrew Selondo TSIBA Student - CAPE TOWN
  • Memoir Course Feedback:

    "The course offered an opportunity to express the good and bad experiences in my life. Through this course I was able to learn new and safe ways of writing my story. 

    I enjoyed sharing stories with the other participants in a safe environment."

    Lorna Madlebe TSIBA Student - CAPE TOWN
  • Memoir Course Feedback:

    "It helped me to express myself better and revisit places in me that I was shying away from. I especially enjoyed interacting with the facilitator and the other writers."

    Winnie Saul CAPE TOWN
  • Audio Course feedback:

    "It served an ice breaker helping me get back into writing, while the playfulness through the prompts and tasks were a good way to engage internally and let things out through a deepened process.

    The online meet ups were the most enjoyable! Sharing stories was an important though scary process initially. Dawn is an open and thoughtful facilitator with excellent listening skills. It was very valuable for me to have my writing & my voice heard and affirmed in a group."

    Kirstie Nel CAPE TOWN
  • Creative Writing Course feedback:

    "It gave me a practical technique to get my body ready for writing by using the visualization exercises that Dawn taught us.

    I enjoyed the practical approach and liked the casual atmosphere which felt like a safe space with friends where we could ask and share anything, even though we were all strangers.

    It was comforting to know that if you’re struggling, you’re not alone."

    Kaulana Williams CAPE TOWN
  • Audio Course Feedback:

    "The course felt like I was engaged with one-on-one mentoring from Dawn Garisch. Her presentation was professional, encouraging, filled with nuggets of wisdom and invaluable practical tools.

    I felt inspired and motivated to push past the The Critic, immerse myself in the tasks and write!"

    Desiree-Ann Martin CAPE TOWN
  • Audio Course Feedback:

    "I got first-hand sense of the possibility of writing to work a kind of magic. With the right combination of imagination, compassion and good luck, it feels possible for writing to redeem troublesome aspects of the past.

    The group feedback sessions were great - both serious and quite playful. The opportunity to be heard by and to hear from a variety of people was very rewarding. And a much needed break from lockdown. I loved the readings of other people's work - both humbling and inspiring."

    Dugal Harris CAPE TOWN
  • Audio Course Feedback:

    "Thank you for making this an audio course. Due to lockdown, I fear many of us have "Zoom Fatigue", therefore I very much appreciated being able to just listen. The audio sessions are very valuable as you are able to revisit exercises if you stumbled through them."

    Olive Klara Hodge CAPE TOWN
  • Audio Course Feedback:

    "It is such a privilege to do this, so I am very grateful, thanks."

    Jacqui Cooper CAPE TOWN
  • Audio Course Feedback:

    "Many thanks to Dawn for such inspiration.

    Instead of another dreary day, I embark each sunrise on another exciting adventure.

    You have taught me to see life through so many new eyes. I didn’t realize how interesting the world is.

    You have awakened dormant memories and shown me things I hadn’t noticed before.

    You’ve expanded my horizons and shown me the diversity of personalities I’ve met."

    Paul Cooke     UNITED KINGDOM
  • Audio Course Feedback:

    "I am finding the course incredibly rewarding.

    It is just what I needed at this time. I had thought to write more or to 'get writing' in the lockdown but have felt quite unable to be creative in these strange times. Your course has been just what I needed to make this time productive."

    Frances Slabolepszy CAPE TOWN
  • Quote from a reader: 

    "This is how it is True Stories From South Africa- Volume One is an anthology of short stories written by ordinary South Africans. Therein lies the magic, because as a reader you can truly relate to these stories that are beautifully written and cover a wide range of topics, including forced removals, adultery, identity, mental illness etc.

    The Life Righting Collective has done something extraordinary by allowing ordinary people to heal from their personal stories through writing. The other advantage is that anthologies can be read in any order at any pace, so you don't have to feel overwhelmed. Do yourself a favour, go get a copy or buy it as a gift for a friend. You will not be disappointed.

    This book is highly recommended! "

    Kingsley Khobotlo JOHANNESBURG
  • "I would love to write a  very short testimony about how the Life Righting Collective  first anthology; This Is How It Is.

    It changed my life as a person who came from a disadvantage background  completely. Reading my story during the book launch gave me more confidence and introduced me to more opportunities. It equipped me with more skills which I use in my community. 

    I wish the Life Righting Collective can get funds to launch a second anthology so that more women and men can have the same opportunity and experience like myself or even better."

    Beauty Bokwani CAPE TOWN
  • "The writing course at LRC has helped me deal with my painful past and to see the potential in me. It has encouraged me to read, write more and to be connected with other people.

    My published stories are an educative tool and it promotes the willingness to share our stories. By sharing we create an awareness, we connect and heal as a nation.

    Everything is a story and your story is my story, and when it is written it will be preserved for the generations to come."

    Charlotte Mande Ilunga CAPE TOWN
  • "I arrived in substantial physical pain and I’m leaving much relieved.

    I had several transformative realizations and felt safe enough to finally “go there” and give myself permission to feel my feelings.

    Heartfelt thanks, this was such a gift. I feel like I’ve come home to myself after a very long and arduous journey. Such relief healing and comfort.

    Thank you for holding the space so beautifully."

  • "It was wonderful to be on this course: the energy from everyone was both calming and stimulating."

  • "The works used as references were so interesting. Positive feedback was also a great blessing."

  • "It has offered me a safe space to start sharing my story, how to do it and be supported in it. I’m going to send my clients to these courses: such an important space to process, express, tell, share and feel heard."

  • "It was the vitamin B1 injection that I just needed. Dawn created a safe place to explore hidden demons and her warmth empowered me to be brave."

  • "Other courses teach 'How to Write', this one teaches 'Why to Write'. The psychic stimulus and ideas that spark the creative process. The camaraderie."

    Roland Darroll
  • I found Dawn Garisch’s memoir-writing course extremely useful and helpful: she provided a structure that held all of us would-be memoirists firmly to our task, while at the same time helping us to get in touch with our senses, our fears, our dreams, our stories. The image that comes to mind is of holding tight to the golden thread that will allow us to go down to the depths and emerge again, unscathed though not unchanged. The sense of community and support that is born of twenty-odd people meeting daily for four days to address themselves to such a deeply individual task was also one of the unexpected pleasures of the experience. I would heartily recommend this course.

  • I attended the Life Writing Course with Dawn Garisch in June 2017. As a pensioner on a limited budget I needed to be a sponsored participant and I am forever grateful for this. The Course was an experience for me of deep growth and of healing that continued working positively in my life and definitely in my writing. The Course and Dawn's facilitating leads one in a very sensitive and yet robust way to interior pathways of memory and connection needing to be explored; listening and sharing with other writers gives one the confidence to go in mind and heart where you may not have ventured before. I have recommended this Life Writing Course many times to many people and will continue to do so.

  • The evaluations from your students indicate that many felt they benefitted greatly from your facilitation and encouragement to draw on their own inner resources to spark their writing, and that through this they gained knowledge about themselves and insights that were highly enriching to the writing process. They were given some methodology and tools and felt supported and enabled to be self-reliant in their work. Although this made others used to a more didactic approach insecure at first, they adapted to it and acknowledged its value.

  • This course helped me to break through the block created by my own diffidence and reluctance, enabling me to find and become confident in the thread I must pursue in order to be true to myself. Dawn created an atmosphere of trust in which the participants felt free to go as far as they wished on this journey into memory and onto the page. The structure of the course was well thought out and effective, both day by day and as a whole. An unusual, highly effective and striking aspect of Dawn’s facilitative work is her insistence that writing, memory and creativity are not simply to be found in the ‘head’, but are lodged in and distributed through the ‘memory’ to be discovered in the body itself. The course was enlightening, stimulating, moving and fun.

  • Dawn's memoir writing workshop was a finely crafted and facilitated process that encouraged and enabled us to write. My creativity was stimulated by her use of poetry and prose, her listening and sensing exercises, her considerable knowledge and experience of the act of writing, and her easy manner when it came to holding and guiding the group and the process. In short: an excellent and productive experience!

  • Thank you for a most wonderful course.

    When I was younger I spent a year trying to wind surf. I tried and tried and the sail kept flopping into the water. A friend kept saying, Laura you won’t be able to do this until you put your foot behind the mast-boom. My brain heard her but I couldn’t figure out what she meant. I kept trying and trying to lift the sail with my foot in-front of the mast-boom. One day, my foot went behind the mast-boom and the sail lifted and I rushed into the ocean where I wanted to go.

    Your course was like that day. Before it, I heard what people were saying about writing. I read what people were writing about writing. I entered a few competitions and did well. But, it didn’t feel right.
    Now, when an idea springs into my mind, I refuse to use the computer at the first birthing. The perfectionist critiques every word if I use the computer.

    I also, through your course, learnt to write what I want to write (not what I think other people want to hear).
    I have learnt to use my own life (for this is the only unique source of inspiration there is). I can disguise my life as fiction. So, THANK YOU

  • The practice of creative writing, and specifically of poetry within this sphere, has had a consistent, profoundly therapeutic effect on my life, my physical and psycho-emotional well-being. It has also had a collective healing and transformational impact on the audiences, participants and collaborators with whom I, as a professional arts activist/applied arts practitioner, have engaged over many years.

  • I found Dawn Garisch's Life Writing Workshop gratifying and inspiring in so many ways. Her approach to creative writing is uniquely her own, and one that effortlessly accommodates aspiring and published writers of memoir from a wide variety of backgrounds. I appreciate the lengths to which she goes to allow cross-subsidization of participants not able to afford the fees by those who can. Dawn guides and infuses the workshop process with her vast expertise, energy, and delight. She creates a safe place for participants to explore deeply both positive and negative aspects of their life stories. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to write their life story. It will allow you to write creatively, with integrity and honesty, in an environment with like-minded people guided by an excellent mentor.

  • You will never know what a gift the course has been and what it has done for me, as well as the ripple effect my writing will have in the future. The gentle guidance and patience since then has given me the joy of believing in myself as well as the sheer delight of remembering and writing. A door opened for me that has led me to meeting wonderful people who also stimulate and affirm me. "Thank you" are such inadequate words, but I have no other, except to say that you have enriched my life immeasurably.

  • Hi daar, ek het die vreeslik geniet. Maar het nog baie stories omte vertel. Ek het ook nie geweet skryf laat jou gevoelens vloei nie. Dan ook al wat dit vereis is stilte a pen en a spierwit bladsy om baie dit te deel.

  • Attending the memoir course was unexpectedly empowering. It took me down into the very roots
    of my life experience in a safe and supportive nurturing environment."

  • This was an extraordinarily rewarding week. Dawn has a remarkable talent for identifying the conversations we all need to have with ourselves."

  • Dawn is a wise and gently insistent guide whose vast personal experience illuminates the shared space. It was a deeply healing experience. Thank you."

  • Thank you so much for your passion for the art of writing and its power to bring people to a
    deeper, healing connection. Now I can add writing to my identity – a tremendous shift for me.”

  • I enjoyed all the writing exercises as they showed me I have the potential to be a writer but I LOVED the excerpt readings and the balance of energies between the facilitators the most.”


  • Doing the course opened me to emotions I didn't realise I have and made me look at some parts
    of my life with a different eye. I’ve made a promise to myself not to stop writing from now on!